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Gathering of giant whale sharks wins 2022 Underwater Photographer of the Year


Underwater Photographer of the Year has just announced its winners for 2022. And like every year, quite a lot of stunning scenes have been captured in splendid underwater photographs.

“One photo to rule them all” was taken by Spanish photographer Rafael Fernandez Caballero. He was named this year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year, and his incredible image shows five whale sharks feeding together at night in the waters of the Maldives.

Fernandez’s photo was the winner among 4,200 underwater pictures submitted to this year’s contest from underwater photographers from 71 countries. The photo was titled “Giants Of The Night” and it captures a unique ocean event, taken in challenging conditions.

“It was already incredible when one whale shark came to our boat,” Fernandez said about his image. “But more and more kept arriving. I was diving with Gador Muntaner, a shark researcher, who couldn’t believe it as their numbers grew. He counted 11 sharks that night – a once in a lifetime encounter that nobody thought was possible.”

With the help of light from the boat, Fernandez turned this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into a stunning photo that eventually earned him the win in the contest. And other than being an overall winner, Fernandez also won the Wide-Angle category with his image.

© Rafael Fernandez Caballero/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

Speaking of categories, Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 recognizes winners in 14 of them:

  1. Wide Angle
  2. Macro
  3. Wrecks
  4. Behaviour
  5. Portrait
  6. Black & White
  7. Compact
  8. Up & Coming
  9. British Waters Wide Angle
  10. British Waters Macro
  11. British Waters Compact
  12. British Waters Living Together
  13. My Backyard
  14. “Save Our Seas Foundation” Marine Conservation

“Save Our Seas Foundation” Marine Conservation is a special category, and this year’s winner is Thien Nguyen Ngoc from Vietnam. His aerial photo titled “Big Appetite” shows boats straining the waters for anchovies in the Phu Yen province of Vietnam.

© Thien Nguyen Ngoc/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

Since the contest is based in the UK, it has special categories for British photographers. This year’s British Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 is Matty Smith, an Englishman now living in Australia. His image “Great White Split” shows a portrait of a great white shark, and it was taken in the Neptune Islands, South Australia. This stunning photo also brought him the second place in the Portrait category.

© Matthew Smith/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

To make this photo, Smith built a special supersize dome port for his camera, as well as a carbon pole and remote trigger to allow him to get this revealing perspective. “I had wanted to shoot a charismatic over/under portrait for years,” explained Smith. “Some techniques I had previously tried failed terribly, so this time I designed and constructed my own equipment to get the camera exactly where I wanted. Surprisingly, the sharks were instantly attracted to the camera, in fact it was a battle to stop them biting it!”

I’m going to leave you now with the rest of the category winners and runner-ups, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy these amazing images as much as I did. For more photos and information, make sure to visit the Underwater Photographer of the Year’s website.

Wide Angle

© Andy Schmid/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© Hannah Le Leu/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

 

Macro

© Javier Murcia/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place; also My backyard 2nd place

© David Alpert/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© Hannes Klostermann/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

Wrecks

© Alex Dawson/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Catherine Holmes/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place, 2nd place

© Karlo Macas/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

Behaviour

Pekka Tuuri/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place; also My Backyard winner

© Francisco Javier Murcia/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022v, 2nd place

© Damir Zurub/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

Portrait

© Thomas Heckmann/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Daniele Comin/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

Black & White

© Kerrie Burow/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Borut Furlan/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© James Rokop/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

Compact

© Enrico Somogyi/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© James Rokop/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© Enrico Somogyi/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

Up & Coming

© Francisco Abadal Ramon/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Yazid El Shaari/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place; also My backyard highly commended

© Francisco Abadal Ramon/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

British Waters Wide Angle

© Henley Spiers/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Paul Colley/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© Henley Spiers/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

British Waters Macro

© Dan Bolts/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Dan Bolts/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© Paul Pettitts/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

British Waters Compact

Martin Stevens, 1st place/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022; also My Backyard highly commended

James Lynott/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

Tony Reed/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

British Waters Living Together

© Lewis Michael Jefferies/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 1st place

© Kirsty Andrews/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 2nd place

© Alison Pettitt/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, 3rd place

“Save Our Seas Foundation” Marine Conservation

© Fabrice Dudenhofer/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, 2nd place

© Pasquale Vassallo, 3rd place

© Sebnem Coskun/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, highly commended

© Francisco Javier Murcia Requena/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, highly commended

© Alex Lindbloom/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, highly commended

© Shane Gross/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, highly commended

© Kevin De Vree/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, commended

© Boshen Qian/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, commended

© Rafael Fernandez Caballero/Underwater Photographer of the Year 202, commended




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